Being self-employed, I have the luxury and challenge of setting my own schedule. This involves assigning and prioritizing the tasks that need to get done on a daily basis. One of the biggest benefits is that I have a lot of flexibility. One of the biggest challenges, however, is that there are often several not-so-fun tasks that I am responsible for. When something doesn’t seem fun, or have an immediate (often external) deadline or consequence, it makes it even more difficult to complete these tasks.
In all honesty, my biggest barrier to getting these things done is that sometimes, I just don’t want to. I just don’t. This has always been a challenge for me, and is probably one that I will continue to struggle with to some degree for the rest of my life. I know, however, that I’m not alone in this experience. I have talked to friends, family, and clients who have expressed that they also struggle with this to some degree. As a result, I’ve spent time thinking about, practicing, and counseling others on different ways to address this challenge. Below are a few tips that may help you increase your self-motivation.
Steps to Increase Self-Motivation
1. Change your language.
I have found that if I focus on telling myself that I don’t want to do something, then I don’t. That language perpetuates a feeling of “stuckness” instead of generating movement. What we need to do is change our language to something that is motivating. Here are some alternative phrases to try instead of “I don’t want to”:
- “I will feel better once it’s done.”
- “I’ll get into it once I get started.”
- “It probably won’t take as long as I think it will.”
- “I can plan to do something fun after I get this done.”
2. Go for a walk/Get your body moving.
Sometimes when we feel stuck, getting up and getting our bodies moving, can help our brains get unstuck. In this case, our “I don’t want to” could be more about not knowing how to get started versus being resistant to the actual task. Moving our bodies will help us get our minds moving.
3. Get accountability.
Reaching out to someone to hold you accountable can be a great way to help you get things done. You may call a friend and ask him or her to hold you accountable. This could look like you and your friend sharing your respective “to do” lists, and then promising to check on each others progress at a specific time. This gives you a concrete deadline, which may help snap your brain into focus, and increase your motivation to get the task(s) done.
As adults, we are all faced with having to complete some not-so-fun tasks at times. By changing your language, moving your body, and getting accountability, you can increase your chances of getting things done. If you have some tried and true strategies for increasing your self-motivation, I would love to hear about them in the comments section below.